Marcos opened the door, Harris stormed through, whats next?

Analysis and Opinion

By Joe America

Big nations push. Small nations are pushed. True independence is Cuba. Other nations are pushers, dancers, or beggars.

The Philippines was a beggar under Duterte and is becoming a dancer under Marcos. Aquino was a dancer, and skilled at it.

President Marcos opened the door to the US, Vice President Harris waltzed into the living room. She started telling the band what to play.

Now the question is, what does President Marcos do about it?

If we change the metaphor to water, and Harris a wave, one can either get crushed by it, dive under and let it pass quietly overhead, or surf it like JoeAm at the beach in Malibu, use it, enjoy it, and get the most from it.

Leftists want the Philippines to be independent like Cuba. Bad look.

Many will simply want to dive under. It’s easy, like water off a duck’s back. Then they can get back to their muddled corruption, do nothing, live fat and happy, and look down on the poor folks.

I think pure independence is impossible for the Philippines . . . look at China chewing at the WPS fishing zone . . . but there is a form of nationhood that is sovereign and successful. It is independent by being accountable to Filipinos, and no one else. It insists on mastering the “push” from bigger nations.

This is hard to achieve if corruption is the underlying motive for decisions. It is possible if national well-being is the motive.

One of the projects VP Harris brought with her was to form a nuclear energy partnership between the Philippines and US. While the US might have commercial interests in such a partnership, as would the Philippines, the “push” part of the partnership is for the Philippines to agree not to sell nuclear technology or materials to other parties. Like Iran or radical bomb-makers, I suppose. Pretty much a no-brainer to agree to, but it does illustrate the complexity of going nuclear.

The Philippines would be well-advised to give this partnership agreement some thought. Would it restrict where the Philippines gets its “science” and materials? Russia, out. China, out. What about France?

It is how these vital documents are crafted that defines whether the Philippines is driving things, or the US is driving them. Agreements should not be crafted by some cousin or corrupt crony, but by a team of technology-aware professionals, the same way the Philippine arbitration team was put together.

When the deal is done, team leaders should be almost smug with confidence knowing the Philippines got a good deal.

President Marcos should most certainly invite China through the door, as well. What are their interests and proposed projects? Put the “push” out on the table where we can see it. Joint development? Code of Conduct for the seas? Mining? Telecom?

And again, for the Philippines, what is going to drive outcomes? Corruption or national interest?

If the Philippines is authoritative, confident, and capable, it can use the “push” from other nations to great advantage, growing faster, becoming more competent, getting richer, and strengthening its sovereign authority.

Or it can continue to muddle, whine, steal, blame, and shirk its duties.

Many Filipinos today don’t have a lot of confidence in their government. They see the favoritism toward the entitled, relatives in powerful positions, De Lima in jail, fixers in the hallways, and lousy performance on global ratings.

Well, I share their skepticism. But I also know change is possible. Addicts can go straight. So why not aim for that?

The government agency that offers us a measure of confidence that good works are possible is the Department of Foreign Affairs. DFA consistently holds a firm view of the best interest of the Philippines. All nations bringing “push” to the Philippines are escorted by DFA. DFA sets the stage for all works between partners. Their method should be forthright. Philippine interests first. Authoritative. Driven by sovereign excellence.

With DFA framing engagements with other nations, we should be able to look at the future, not glumly, but with the idea that we can rise early and hit the surf.



Photograph from Philippine Star

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